Greens protest Sweden's missile exports to Saudis

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LONDON — Sweden is under assault from its opposition parties for exporting missiles and other munitions to Saudi Arabia.

Officials said the Swedish government has approved an acceleration of military exports to Saudi Arabia in 2010. They said Swedish air and naval munitions arrived in Saudi Arabia throughout the first half of this year.

“They included missiles and bombs,” an official said.

Officials have confirmed that Saudi Arabia has also procured an advanced early-warning Erieye radar system from Saab. The radar was identified as the Saab 2000 airborne early warning and control, sold with the Saab 2000 aircraft.

“We’re talking about one of the world’s worst dictatorships,” Peter Radberg a spokesman for Sweden’s opposition Green Party, said. “We can’t send weapons to dictatorships that should be buying food instead.”

The AEW platform was designed to detect low and slow-moving projectiles, including cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Officials said Erieye could operate over land and water.

The latest batch of Swedish missiles was said to have arrived in Riyad in August. Officials said the shipment included anti-tank missiles by Saab Bofors Dynamics.

The Erieye deal was reported at nearly $670 million and included ground equipment, logistics and support services. Saab has confirmed the contract, but refused to identify the client.

The Swedish opposition has called for a comprehensive review of the nation’s arms export policies. Several opposition parties pledged to introduce bills to block exports to Saudi Arabia and other countries deemed violators of human rights.

“If we had gotten a Red-Green government we would have introduced legislation which, in my estimation, would have stopped weapons exports to countries like Saudi Arabia,” Hans Linde, a spokesman for the opposition Left Party, said.

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